Making an Impact on the Game & Developing Better Youth Soccer Players
Todd Beane — Founder of TOVO Academy Barcelona — is a remakable, committed and determined professional who believes soccer in America can be better. In fact, far superior — if only we took the time to develop intelligent youth soccer players who could think on the pitch.
Todd Beane is the founder and CEO of TOVO — Academy Barcelona. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Beane earned his MA at Stanford University in Education. Beane, who has held a USSF “A” License, worked with Johan Cruyff for 14 years to create the Cruyff Institute for Sport Studies and to deliver total football training programs to professional clubs worldwide. Then he founded TOVO – Academy Barcelona.
“Todd is a natural teacher. He has clear ideas and presents them in a way that people enjoy and understand.” – Johan Cruyff (1947-2016)
TOVO is based on Total Football, played and taught by the famous Johan Cruyff. The Johan Cruyff style is team oriented — where eleven players contribute systematically to both offense and defense. This is a ‘thinking’ and creative, solutions oriented style of play where players really need skils and a deep undertsanding of the game of soccer.
The goal is to help players find solutions to the challenges presented by their opponents and Beane focuses on developing youth soccer players to play smarter. The TOVO Training has been heralded by LAFC and many other organziations.
It is about soccer players whose brains and bodies to work in harmony.
SoccerToday’s Editor in Chief Diane Scavuzzo asked Todd Beane, who lives in Spain, how he maximizes talent and what can be done to improve the quality of player development in the USA.
Here is our interview with Todd Beane:
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the main differences between youth soccer in Spain and the United States?
Todd Beane: In terms of organization, in Spain it is simple and in the USA, it is bewilderingly complex.
In terms of passion, Spain lives football while the USA likes it.
In terms of development, Spanish children are years ahead in their capacity to play the game intelligently.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe needs to be changed to improve youth soccer in the United States?
Todd Beane: We must promote joy and foster learning above all else.
To do that we must change the paradigm upon which we have built our training.
We have been profoundly misguided believing that the “fundamentals” of soccer are merely its technical components.
Forty years of this model has led us from mediocrity to futility.
We need to throw that model in the rubbish and begin anew.
Football is a game requiring great cognition, competence, and character and we should nurture this in our players starting from their first touch on the ball.
Our kids are phenomenal but the way we train them is woefully inadequate.
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you helping to develop better players?
Todd Beane: We have created the TOVO Academy Residency Program in Barcelona. Players from America now have a private “Masia” dedicated to pure and holistic development.
Our student-athletes have accomplished a great deal in a short period of time. That is what inspires us – these brilliant kids. They are so eager to learn.
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you developing better coaches?
Todd Beane: We are challenging the status quo through our TOVO Training methodology. I would say that we have an organic, and respectfully rebellious, movement underway.
There are so many well-intended coaches who need support and we are trying to respond to that through coaching courses. Many join us in Barcelona and are hooked. Many stay closer to home so we are travelling worldwide to respond to those requests.
I must say that I do believe we need more women coaches on the pitch.
Girls, like my own, need to see females in leadership roles on a daily basis. So, we have created a scholarship fund at TOVO Academy for women to offset tuition to our coaching courses. A small step I know, but a step in the right direction we hope.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes TOVO special?
Todd Beane: We play smarter.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice can you share with players who dream of becoming their best?
Todd Beane: Great question in the way you phrase it.
We want all players to reach their personal best.
Maybe their best leads them to adult recreational leagues. Maybe their best leads them to university or even on to professional soccer.
Maybe their best leads them into music, dance, art or science. Time will tell. Regardless of their ambition, we ask three things of each player in our charge.
Do your best. Have fun. Behave.
If you do this day in and day out, good things happen.
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